If we were meeting at one of our “Tel Aviv Talks”* this week, the below is what I would share as my opening remarks
I had a dream. To bring the late President Shimon Peres – my former mentor and boss (over ten years ago) to speak with you all as olim and others considering making Tel Aviv, Israel your home. With those who have bravely chosen to upend their lives, say good bye to loved ones and familiar surroundings, and become Israel’s future pioneers. Or are considering to do so….
By the way, Shimon Peres (z”l) would very happily have taken the challenge….
In the following paragraphs are my own thoughts, which are humbly inspired by his legacy. I hope you will find it interesting and maybe even inspiring. Any misinterpretations of his legacy are my mistakes only:
Dear Olim. As we enter the (Jewish) year 5777, I would like to humbly remind you that you should be proud of yourselves: You have chosen to move out of your comfort zone, move your lives, and build your future and that of your people in Israel. You have chosen to dream great.
I can relate that being a new immigrant, you may feel perhaps not fully ‘Israeli’ yet. Maybe you still are struggling with Hebrew or your accent. Or modes of behavior. After 26 years, I still struggle with all. And while married to a sabra and raising one, and am given the responsibility to help you as olim as if I am an ‘expert’ Israeli, I too do not always feel Israeli.
Nonetheless, as I assure myself – I will now promise you – that you are Israeli, because you have chosen to serve Israel by being an Israeli, and making your future here.
Now, I would like to share that each and every one of us also has what Shimon Peres z”l has called ‘unused potential’. With this potential, you have a choice of how to pave your individual paths to impact and influence. How to nurture that potential to enhance the potential of Israeli ingenuity.
Israel is constantly on the cusp of the future. Be a part of the future. Dare to dream and imagine. Imagine in any field you choose. Whether it be high tech or low tech. Medicine or machinery. Philosophy or architecture. Art or Sport.
For it is our imagination in these realms of innovation, science, and entrepreneurship – that can serve as bridges to bring us together as a community and as a world. The only competition in ideas, science, and entrepreneurship is which idea or thought leader can help meet and solves today’s and tomorrow’s local or global challenges better. We all win when we imagine and look ahead.
Yes. You will need to work hard to accomplish any or all of the above. So in any professional position or entrepreneurial path you take, learn everything you can. Immerse yourself. Become an expert. Make changes. Evolve. Strive. And of course, I/we are here to support your dreams along the way.
Now something else I believe we can learn from Shimon Peres’ (z”l) life. Don’t give up. If any of you become frustrated. That is fine, understandable, and natural.
If your frustration stems from perhaps how I at the Municipality (and I will take responsibility for myself) have not supported your dreams faithfully and fully, let me know. In today’s day and age of instant messaging and social media, or an old fashioned phone call….I/we at the Municipality and others are accessible to you – sometimes slower, sometimes faster — yet, we do hear you and we really would like to make changes to make things better for all of us.
So: Be frustrated. And yet, use that energy to keep moving forward toward your dream. Ask for help if needed. Don’t look back.
Lastly, at the end of the day, as Shimon Peres z”l has often said, if your dreams are more than your achievements then you are still young in spirit. So Stay young. Keep dreaming.
Thank you for coming to Israel and being tomorrow’s pioneers. Thank you for dreaming and choosing to stay young.
Gmar Hatima Tovah!
*The ‘Tel Aviv Talks’ are an initiative of the Tel Aviv Yafo Municipal Olim Department – in cooperation with many partners – to bring additional value-added and enjoyable English events and speakers to our Global City, for the benefit of all residents and global citizens. For more information, check out our facebook page linked above (Facebook: Olim in Tel Aviv Yafo).